Power BI Report Server (Preview May 2017)

After the first technical preview of Power BI report integration in the SSRS reporting portal, the next preview is available. As a consequence of the announcements of Power BI Premium (post) and the new product name Power BI Report Server (post) we’ll find the documentation and download links in the Power BI documentation hub.


What’s New?

In contrast to the January Preview the following differences apply:

  • Name change to Power BI Report Server
  • Power BI Report Server does not integrate into “standard” SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) – it is a new product
  • Custom Visuals in on-premises Power BI reports are supported
  • Power BI Mobile app (update pending) is able to connect and view Power BI reports hosted in Power BI Report Server
  • Enhanced collaboration in reports with comments. This feature has been added with SQL 2016 Reporting Services. I’ll have to test this if new / other functionality

No changes apply:

  • Data Connectivity:   Only Analysis Services live connections are supported (“with more datasources to come” – source powerbi.com/documentation)
    • This is one of the major pitfalls for me as I was really hoping to see more data sources be supported. But – I also understand the huge implementation effort raising from the Import and cached data sets approach..Let’s see when more data sources will be added to Power BI Report Server
  • Publishing with Power BI Desktop: Similar to the January Preview, you’ll need a specialised (powerbi.com calls it “optimized” version) of Power BI Desktop [download link].
  • No support for R visuals.

Handbooks for Users, Administrators & Developers

There are three sections added to the Power BI documentation linking to handbooks for specific audience groups:

  • User handbook [link]
    • Begins with the explanation of vocabularies, report types and the basic handling of / working with the Power BI Report Server portal. In addition the creation and publishing of and working with Power BI reports is described.
    •   The current restrictions concerning data connectivity (SSAS live queries) are also discussed.
    • Last but not least the Mobile apps and How-To connect checklists are provided.
  • Administrator handbook  [link]
    • The admin handbook deals with requirements for the installation and describes the installation process and Power BI Report Server configuration.
    • Additional information about the Power BI Desktop version optimized for Power BI Report Server are listed.
    • If you want/need to migrate an existing SSRS instance to Power BI Report Server you’ll find the migration restrictions and instructions in the section.
  • Developer handbook [link]
    • This part of the documentation deals with all the available development options in the context of Power BI Report Server.
      • Embedding – add ?rs:Embed=true for IFRAME inclusion
      • Report Viewer Control – for paginated reports only
      • APIs – SOAP APIS, URL Access, WMI Provider and PowerShell


The downloads (Power BI Report Server and Power BI Desktop (for PBI Report Server) can be found in the Microsoft Download center. The link (as of 2017-05-17)


Additional Links:

About wolfgang

Data Platform enthusiast
This entry was posted in Business Intelligence, PowerBI, SSRS. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s